Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

George R. Milne

Second Advisor

William D. Diamond

Third Advisor

Ronald J. Karren

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations


Identifying effective strategies for encouraging individuals to disclose their personal information on the Internet is important for marketers. In today's informationbased economy, access to consumer data is imperative for organizations in conducting marketing activities. However, the extant privacy literature has found conflicting results regarding the effectiveness of safety cues (e.g., privacy policies) and rewards (e.g., discounts) for encouraging consumers to provide their personal information to Web sites (Andrade et al. 2002). There is also scant research on the implications of compensating consumers for their information, and its subsequent impact on privacy control expectations.

This dissertation consists of two essays that examine how consumers respond to marketers' strategies for encouraging self-disclosure on the Internet, and how these strategies affect expectations for privacy control. Essay 1 employs regulatory focus theory for investigating the impact of consumers' goals (privacy protection vs. acquisition of benefits) on how they respond to marketers’ online influence strategies and brand reputation. The use of safety cues, rewards, and brand reputation have been identified in vii the privacy literature as important factors that influence consumers' trust, privacy concern, and willingness to provide personal information (Milne and Culnan 2004). Essay 2 draws on theories of social exchange and social contracts for examining how the value and type of compensation received influences the degree to which consumers believe they own the information provided to marketers and their expectations for control over how their information is used. Although consumers frequently trade their personal information for benefits online, it has been suggested in the privacy literature that the point at which consumers own and control information about themselves and when that information becomes the property of marketers is unclear (Sheehan and Hoy 2000).

This dissertation employs a mixed methods approach that includes a series of scenario-based experiments using survey panel data, and in-depth interviews. The results of essay 1 provide evidence of the importance of consumer goals in decisions to disclose personal information to marketers. Findings from essay 2 reveal that privacy exchanges may affect the degree to which consumers believe ownership and control over their information is shared with marketers.